The sky was overcast this morning as I headed out for my morning walk. It’s summer and I admit, I don’t tend to check the weather that often this time of year. What’s the point? I live in the south. It’s going to be hot. It is going to be humid. There will be a chance of thunderstorms whether there is a cloud in the sky or not. So while it was overcast, it didn’t look like rain and so off I went without double checking one of the several apps on my phone.
About a quarter of the way into my walk, it began to rain. Not just mist or drizzle, but a quiet shower that whispers through the trees and comes down all at once. The kind of rain best listened to as you hit the snooze button and roll back over for a few stolen minutes of cocooned peace. But I had already silenced that alarm clock. I had already dragged myself from the cocoon. I was soaked in a matter of seconds.
The Dixie Chicks Long Way Around came up in my shuffle and so I tucked the phone away and kept going. I was already wet. Water dripped off my lashes and nose. No reason to end my walk early. Like the song, I’m not one for short cuts.
It was beautiful. I laughed. I splashed through a puddle. It was me and the quiet and the scent of fresh cut grass and damp earth. The rain was cool and tickled my skin. I felt ridiculous and invigorated all at once. The rain was brief and the last half of the walk was dry save my shirt, shorts, shoes, and the drops slipping from the drooping and heavy crepe myrtle trees overhanging the sidewalk. I kept going.
I recently entered my manuscript into #PitchWars, an online contest where aspiring writers submit their work to an amazing group of selfless authors who will serve as mentors. These mentors will select one lucky manuscript each to guide through an in-depth and intense two month editing process to revise and polish the work with an opportunity to pitch the final book to a similarly amazing group of agents.
There are several weeks between now and the selection announcements. There are thousands of entries. There are 149 mentors. There are fewer mentors suitable for my book. There are four that I submitted to. There are odds that are small and then there are these odds. And I admit, I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with how inept my book is. How wrong it must be. How trite and amateur and many more adjectives with less friendly sides to them. Because I am a writer. And what is a writer if not filled with self doubt?
Writing fiction, especially a long work of fiction, can be a difficult, lonely job; it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub. There’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt. – Stephen King
But I’m not one for short cuts. The wait, the work, the doubt, it’s all just a little rain and while I may get wet, I will also get to see bright yellow leaves skid across puddles and the shift of the clouds across the sky. I will be uncomfortable, but I will be making progress. If I let it, the rain – the setbacks that seem annoying, painful, discouraging – might simply be watering the work so that when the sun shines again it will grow and blossom into the beautiful thing I know it to be.
I am back at my desk. Back at work. Letting the rain fall where it must and putting in the steps to get where I am going. See you there.
4 thoughts on “A Little Rain Must Fall”
I’m sure your book isn’t inept! My writing is a different type of writing (scientific journal writing) but I definitely feel the imposter syndrome. Writing is not a process I enjoy. I prefer to be in the lab. But I will share with you two things that have helped me in my recent writing. First, my advisor gave me the largest boost by telling me he thought my first draft was really good. His opinion means more to me than a faceless journal reviewer. Second, while in the process of reviewing an article for publication in a journal, I realized that my writing was good in comparison to the article I was reviewing. I’m not saying that article was bad, but just that I didn’t need to worry so much about my own writing and imposter syndrome. Both of those things help invigorate me for the edits I have to do now. I hope you get picked for this contest and get to experience a similar boost from it. But even if you don’t get picked, I wouldn’t take it to mean your writing isn’t good (or whatever the mean voice in the back of your head is saying). It just wasn’t picked because there were a lot of entries and limited mentor resources. And I’m always happy to read stuff and give feedback. ~Diana
Thanks, Diana! And congrats on the great feedback. It’s always nice to know when we’re moving in the right direction, isn’t it? I joke with my husband that I took two jobs where you don’t have the benefit of knowing how you’re doing until you are done – writing books and parenting. If only either came with performance reviews before you realized you had screwed up! 🙂
The good news is this experience has opened me up to so many new resources and a larger writing community. The better news is that I’m sending the book off this week to a few trusted beta readers so I’ll have good feedback to work on this fall regardless of whether it comes from this contest or my standard group of tough-love editors.
Thanks for the feedback offer…I may take you up on that sometime!
Good luck with the contest- I’m sure that it won’t matter in the end if you win or not. You have already won from just getting that far.
Exactly! Of course I’d love to be selected, but prepping for it already helped immeasurably. It’s all about continuing to move forward, working hard and finding the next opportunity. Thanks!